You may be getting that feeling that everyone gets as the year comes to a close. Should I make changes personally?.. Financially?..Today, we are going to focus on setting goals for your practice and the four reasons why this is important.
Why is it important to have a purpose? This question may seem simple and fairly obvious, but the importance of actually answering it is often ignored.
“Goals are to your practice what road signs are to a highway. You can be assured that you are on the right road and making good progress towards your vision when you meet your SMART goals.” – Tim Nichols, O.D.
When you have a purpose, you are able to set goals that align with that purpose. If you have never really thought about your purpose much past “helping patients see”, then maybe it is time to think about it. You can start by asking yourself questions. What are my personal goals? When would I like to retire? What type of patients do I enjoy seeing? What type of cases do I like treating? Once you have answered some of these questions, you will be much closer to asking yourself the more specific questions that can help you to pinpoint your purpose.
Remember, your purpose can be as broad or narrow as you like, as long as it motivates you.
Now that you have identified (or re-identified) your purpose, making decisions that align with that purpose is easy. Well, maybe not easy, but easier?
Every practice owner can tell you that they are faced with decisions every day. Should we buy this? Should we upgrade that? Should we hire more help? Do we have too much help? Wouldn’t it be great to actually know where you are headed so you can think with your head and not just make a blind guess? A gut check is useful every once in a while, but impulsive decisions can lead to unnecessary stress and a waste of useful resources.
When you have a purpose, your decisions should align with that purpose. For example, if your purpose includes detecting vision issues early on in children, then, a decision to expand your selection of children’s frames might make more sense.
Remember, you are not on your own. Be sure to choose an EHR software that allows you access to accurate and easy-to-read reports. Then, you will always have additional information available to help guide your decisions. Reports are a great way to back up your decisions with data. Taking the time to review reports from your EHR software can not only help you understand where you were, but more importantly it can drive forward thinking.
Encourages Your Team
Setting goals is great, but if you don’t have a team in place to help you meet them, quite frankly, you won’t.
Sharing your goals with your employees is key. Not only will your employees better understand why you are asking them to track new information or change a process, these employees might have ideas to help you reach your goals. Listening to the people that interact with your patients, use your equipment, and help you run your practice is the easiest way to learn. Guess what? It’s FREE!
Something that business owners and managers often worry about is paying the staff extra to help meet goals. While money is a great motivator in business, not all rewards need to be monetary. The simple and exciting sense of accomplishment is the reward, after all. Remember, a jeans day and a pizza for lunch is easy and cheap as well. Another thing that often gets overlooked is the simplicity of encouraging words. They go a long way!
You know that feeling you get when you check something off your list? Why not have that feeling every day?
A great way to track your progress is by looking at data. Working all day and not knowing exactly what you have done or how much money you made (or especially how much money did it take you to make the money you made), can feel defeating. Putting tools in place to aid your decision making and help you understand your practice will show you the areas where you are meeting your goals and the areas where you are falling short.
Some people don’t like to look at the numbers closely because they are intimidated. What if I set a goal that I don’t reach? Think about it this way. What if your goal was to bring in fifty dollars more per patient? You set this goal and use your tools to monitor it. At the end of the year, you look at your revenue and see that you actually brought in twenty dollars more per patient. You may not have reached your goal, but you did grow and more importantly twenty is more than zero.
Don’t be afraid of your data. It is there to help you. By setting goals and making a plan, you were now able to increase your revenue by twenty dollars per patient, but you also learned. You now know what worked, what didn’t, and what you can continue to implement the following year and what adjustments might need to be made.
Look back at 2022 and be able to say, “Wow! This is where I started and this is where I am today.”